COVID-19 Protection Framework for tertiary and international sector

COVID-19 Protection Framework for tertiary and international sector

COVID-19 Protection Framework for tertiary and international sector

What the framework means for tertiary education providers

Undertake risk assessments for tertiary education

This high-level guidance is intended to assist providers to develop protocols and policies, in consultation with students, staff, and relevant representative bodies, on how they will operate at each setting of the COVID-19 Protection Framework (the Framework).

Providers should have already completed this process but are encouraged to update their risk assessments to ensure these continue to align with the latest public health guidance and that any protocols and policies providers have put in place are reasonable and proportionate.

Assessment of premises

We recommend tertiary education providers undertake a thorough risk assessment of their wider premises (including student accommodation) and develop proposals for operating at each setting of the Framework that include (but are not limited to):

  • clear rules as to whether students and staff are required to be onsite or whether they should learn or work remotely,
  • systems and practices to support staff and learner wellbeing and safety, and
  • practices to promote safe and healthy learning and work environments.

Providers may need to update their risk assessments over time to ensure they are aligned with the latest public health guidance.

Work with staff, students and community

We recommend tertiary education providers work with their staff, students, and communities to make plans (or to update their existing plans) for how to operate under each setting of the Framework. Providers should have plans for information-sharing and offer wellbeing and safety supports for staff and students. Providers should inform staff and students of their plans, including any changes to policies and procedures.

Vaccination requirements

From 11.59pm on Monday 4 April 2022, the Government no longer requires staff, students, or visitors who are onsite at a tertiary premises to hold a My Vaccine Pass (MVP) at any setting of the Framework.

We are now overall a highly vaccinated country. Vaccine requirements like MVPs and mandates played an important role in getting us there. They have done the job they were put in place for.

Tertiary providers may wish to continue to use MVPs as a condition of entry for students or visitors, unless this is prevented by contractual or legislative provisions, such as Government mandated ‘prohibited settings’, statutory rights of access, or prohibitions on discrimination under the Human Rights Act 1993.

Tertiary providers may also wish to continue to require their employees (or contractors) to be vaccinated to perform certain types of onsite work. This decision would need to be based on an updated health and safety risk assessment which reflects current public health advice.

We note the complex environment tertiary education providers need to make these decisions in. This environment includes providers’ human rights obligations, health and safety requirements, expectations for learner wellbeing and safety systems, contractual relationships with students, student enrolment entitlements, the tertiary and international code of practice, and equity considerations.

We recommend that in cases of doubt you seek appropriate health or legal advice, particularly if you are considering continuing with vaccination requirements now that the Government mandated requirements are removed from the COVID-19 Orders.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and WorkSafe have updated guidance for businesses (including tertiary providers) to assist with developing or updating their plans for vaccination requirements:

Vaccines and the workplace » Employment New Zealand

How to decide what work requires a vaccinated employee — worksafe.govt.nz

Our enforcement approach during the COVID-19 pandemic — worksafe.govt.nz

Your obligations to learners and staff

Tertiary education providers should consider their obligations to learners and employees under the COVID-19 Protection Framework, Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, WorkSafe regulations, Education and Training Act 2020, Human Rights Act 1993, Privacy Act 2020, and the tertiary and international Code of Practice.

Providers will be subject to requirements set out in legislation and Orders implementing the COVID-19 Protection Framework, unless specifically excluded from such requirements. Further guidance on workplace vaccination requirements is available on the Employment New Zealand website.

COVID-19 vaccination and employment — employment.govt.nz

We recommend that tertiary education providers encourage students, staff, and visitors onsite to take all sensible precautions to keep themselves safe, including vaccination.

Advice to an unwell student or staff member

Emergencies

If there is a medical emergency, call 111.

Concern about the health of a student or staff member

If you have a particular concern about the health of a student or staff member, ask the student or staff member to call:

  • Their doctor or nurse practitioner
  • Iwi health provider, or
  • Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453 (or +64 9 358 5453 for international SIMS). Healthline has translators and interpreters available 24/7 in 150 languages.

Some people may avoid COVID-19 testing or treatment for fear of cost. COVID-19 is a notifiable infectious disease, which means that treatment for all people who have, or who are suspected of having, COVID-19 is free (publicly funded under the infectious disease exception) to the extent appropriate in the circumstances to manage risks to other persons. This covers everyone in New Zealand, regardless of visa/citizenship status or length of time in the country.

Please note that the services are limited to:

  • Diagnosis
  • Treatment of the person’s infectious or quarantinable disease
  • Follow-up services
  • Contact tracing services
  • Surveillance of persons who are liable to quarantine under the Health Act 1956

Guide to people receiving treatment for infectious diseases — health.govt.nz

Care of students who are diagnosed with COVID-19 but do not require hospitalisation

If a student is diagnosed with COVID-19 but does not require hospitalisation, they will need to follow the advice of the appropriate health professionals (such as their doctor) for health care.

Providers must comply with the requirements in the tertiary and international Code of Practice. This includes supporting all students with information and ensuring oversight of students who may be at risk, as well as the more detailed requirements for domestic and international students in accommodation arranged by the provider.